Soon, insurance cover for rail passengers
NEW DELHI: The railway ministry is working towards providing accident insurance to passengers, officials said on Wednesday, a move which could see the end of complex procedures for payment of compensation by the public sector giant which ferries around 23 million people daily.
Senior officials in the ministry said railway minister Suresh Prabhu has proposed farming out the job to public sector insurance companies.
“The details of scheme rollout are currently being worked out and are likely to be elaborated upon in the railway minister’s upcoming budget speech next February,” a senior ministry official said.
Initially, the insurance surcharge is likely to be offered as an option only for the reserved category of passengers.
“Insurance firms including the New India Assurance Company have expressed keenness to participate in the project,” the official said.
However, the officials admitted that in the absence of an independent safety regulator, the companies will have to decide the compensation amount on the basis of information provided by the railways.
As of now, travel on the Indian Railways’ 64,500-km network is not insured and compensation to accident victims or their families is given on the basis of decrees from 21 benches of the Railways Claims Tribunal spread across the country.
Railways ministers also award compensation amounts out of their discretionary funds.
Officials said the present system was riddled with corruption.
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